A piano is transformed into sculpture for the UU Society of Black Hawk County.
Moria Landa Brown says her sculpture 88 Notes “has created quite the buzz” around the Unitarian Universalist Society of Black Hawk County in Cedar Falls, Iowa. “The sculpture was created when two separate concerns came together,” writes Brown. “One, our church needed a chalice in front of the sanctuary, and two, our family’s moldy old piano had to come out of the basement in pieces. When the keys were placed numerically on our patio table to dry from the bleach bath I had given them, they reminded me of the new logo being used by the UUA. It was a eureka moment.”
Assembly and problem-solving took three weeks. The keys are glued and screwed onto an altered table top (Brown bought a scroll saw for the effort), and coated with a waxy, metallic finish. Brown is retiring after teaching art for twenty-two years, and this was a new experience for her. “My art media of choice usually includes doodling with ultra fine-tipped permanent markers and colored pencils,” she writes.
The title was selected to reflect the importance of “notes” to everyone: “from written notes of love and recognition to the musical notes our group so highly values.” Brown says that when she looks at the sculpture she can hear her daughter playing the piano, “as she did for twenty-five years while it lived in our basement. The disassembly of the piano was heartbreaking, so to have something so beautiful come from it has been a phenomenal experience!”
Correction 5.16.11: The version of this article that appeared in the Summer issue of UU World included two different versions of the sculpture's title. See sidebar for links to related resources.